Article

MAYOR TRIES TO SNEAK IN HUGE PAY RAISE (UP TO 38%) FOR HIMSELF, CITY MANAGERS, AND ALL EXEMPT CITY EMPLOYEES … MANAGER PAY RAISES IN DOUBLE FIGURES, PAY HIKE OF EXEMPTS 5% … GREEDY INCREASE WOULD BE RETROACTIVE TO 2013, WILL COST TAXPAYERS COUNTLESS MILLIONS FOR NOR A PARTICLE MORE SERVICE

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

LATE, LATE WORD: DON’T TELL ANYONE, BECAUSE YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO KNOW!

The Boring Broadsheet is caught once again asleep, so THE PLANET shall break it. A meeting is scheduled today at at 10 a.m. city hall that could decide the fate of William Monterosso, the embattled head of Berkshire Works. Mayor Dan Bianchi, the genius who appointed suspended Monterosso, will meet with Alice Sweeney, director of the state Department of Career Services, and Heather Boulger, director of the county regional employment board. Our spies are humming the Dragnet theme for Monterosso, who sources say faces accusations of impropriety from staff members. Bianchi has suspended Monterosso with pay. After today, that status could be changed. “Dum de dum-dum. Dum de dum-dum DAHHHHHHH.”

But why is Sweeney, the state jobs honcho, in town for this local meeting? Is it to provide cover for Bianchi after he exonerates his fair-haired boy Monterosso? The betting is that this is the case — that the charges will be dropped and he will be brought back.

If Monterosso is brought back, may the Holy of Holies pity the poor folks still working at BW. They will have to erect two signs over the doorways: “Abandon hope, all ye who enter” going in and  ”Arbeit Mach Frei” going out. “Sources tells us: “Berkshire Works has been in a state of suspended animation. No one knows what is going to happen. Monterosso remains in Pittsfield, so a return [by him to Berkshire Works] is possible. If he returns, further MCAD (Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination) complaints are likely. Your voice [THE PLANET] gives hope to the staff who otherwise feel powerless and hopeless against the powers that don’t seem to care about them or their mission.”

——- 000 ——-

We now return to our regular programming:

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29, 2014) — The Fix is In. Mayor Dan Bianchi wants an-almost 40% pay raise, and he wants you to pay for it. 

In this cynical move, Bianchi reveals what he truly thinks of the good citizens of Pittsfield. He thinks you’re all suckers.

The mayor has filed legislation that could boost his $87,000 compensation nearly 40%. This is not a typo. He must think he’s the greatest statesman since Averill Harriman … or Pee Wee Herman. To help assure that this financially disastrous move will be approved, Bianchi seeks:

* Double-digit pay raises for all city managers and department heads,

* A 5% pay raise for all exempt city employees, and, just to scrub the taxpayers’ open would with an acid-dipped Brillo pad, the gluttonous mayor wants to:

* make all the pay raises retroactive effective to July 1, 2013.

Can this be real? Are we missing something?

When you add it all up, this pay raise, if passed by our Right Honorable Good Friends on the city council, will cost bedraggled taxpayers countless millions of dollars, in perpetuity, without a lick of productivity gain to show for it.

Pay Hike the Latest Move by This Clueless Mayor

If it has any consideration for the tough plight of citizens and if it at all has any sense of the dire financial straights of the city, the city council MUST — MUST — kill this measure. It should have, but didn’t, do the same for the year-after-year of pay raises for school department employees. Now it has another chance —  not to rectify a wrong but to do a right.

And we don’t want to hear and lies about how underpaid these city employees are. Bullshit. There are too many poor citizens unemployed, underemployed, retired and living on fixed incomes, and just flat-out poor to allow Bianchi to get away with this most avaricious play. He is trying to line his own pockets, despite the horrible job he has done, and to boot get pay raises for his buddies. THIS MEASURE MUST SHOW UP ON THE DAIS DEAD ON ARRIVAL.

The pay grab in the hands of the council’s ordinance and rules subcommittee: Chris Connell, chair; Melissa Mazzeo, Jonathan Lothrop, Kathy Amuso, and Kevin MorandiTHE PLANET wonders how objective Connell can be with this measure, given that the mayor will be officiating at Connell’s wedding next month in Park Square (THE PLANET is not making this up)?

O&R will make a recommendation, which will then go to the full council. Again, the only sane vote given the financial straights of the city and its taxpayers is to reject it, flat out, unanimously.

Mayor Is Trying to Sneak His Money Grab Through with Little Attention; Picks Holy Week to Put It on Agenda

The Fix is In.

Sound familiar? It should. That’s become the new city motto under Bianchi, a.k.a., The Empty Suit. Fabricum Cheatorium, as we would decline it in Latin.

We focus your attention on how this little-noticed money-grab was initiated by the man who occupies the corner office and wears the title, though not the Big Boy Pants, of “Mayor.”

While Our Right Honorable Good Friends were “debating” the wisdom of buses and of Lady Light Weight‘s worthiness to serve Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski at the council’s most recent meeting on April 22, they quickly dispatched to Ordinance and Rules Agenda Item 11.

You can find it on the city council agenda, looking so innocent in that dry, boring, anonymous way that bureaucracy attempts to make solidity out of pure wind and to make murder respectable, to borrow that memorable wording from George Owell in his classy and satisfyingly vicious put down of politicians (“The Politics of Language”). Here’s the official wording of agenda item 11: “A Communication from Mayor Bianchi submitting an Ordinance amending the Code of the City of Pittsfield, Chapter 16, Personnel, Section 16-12(a).” 

These seemingly innocuous words are like that friendly looking dog. Once you get near to pet him, he bares his fangs and savagely takes a piece of flesh.

These cardboard words from mayor, if approved, will put taxpayers on the hook for countless additional millions of dollars without any additional productivity or new services.

Does that have your attention? Any wonder why you didn’t read about this in that ordural rag, The Boring Broadsheet? They would no more run a story that made their corporate masters mad than they would try to fill every Pittsfield pothole with newsprint.

It used to be the mainstream press would get copies of the packets and examine the documents. That was when were was an independent mainstream press and not the current collection of Suit Toadies in the media, led by The Boring Broadsheet, whose mission it is to keep The Special Interests happy in return for a few advertising dollars. Fortunately, We The People have THE PLANET. We read the packet, down to the most Lilliputian footnote. Moreover, we don’t take advertising dollars.

——- 000 ——-

On April 16, 2014, our Right Honorable Good Friend city attorney Darren Lee, Esq.,  submitted the pay-raise paperwork for Hizzoner. Don’t blame Lee. That’s his job. April 16: Notice the timing of this request to shake down millions more from taxpayers without their receiving anything in return. Before we get  into the ugly details, let us make two points that reveal Bianchi’s strategy:

(1) The Empty Suit, again, counts on no one picking up on this foul deed until it is too late.

(2) Depending on your point of view, the timing is both perfect and contemptible. To The Special Interests, the timing is perfect.

To The Little Guy, it’s contemptible. Lee submits the documents on April 16. The agenda isn’t prepared until Thursday. Friday was Good Friday, leading into the weekend — normally a time when government shuts down, but to add to the closure, Easter Saturday and Sunday. Monday was Patriot’s Day. Government closed. Tuesday brings us to the day the council meeting takes place. In other words, someone getting the agenda on Thursday would have no opportunity to vet this item until the day of the meeting itself. Just how they like it: No time for anyone to check into it.

OK, now the details. The first piece of paper in Lee’s submission on behalf of Bianchi is titled and prefaced by:

AMENDING THE CODE OF THE CITY OF PITTSFIELD

CHAPTER 16, PERSONNEL

SECTION 1:

That the Code of the City of Pittsfield, Chapter 16, Personnel, Sec. 16-12(a) Definition and adoption of compensation plan, be amended by deleting the following:

Accountant, assistant building commissioner, assistant city solicitor (that Darren Lee, by the way), building commissioner, city clerk, city engineer, city planner, city solicitor, commissioner of public services, community development and housing program manager, director of administration, director of the office of cultural development, director of council on aging, director of finance/treasurer, director of maintenance, director of personnel, director of public health, director of RSVP, director of veteran services, director of youth services, fire chief, parks manager, personnel manager, police chief, police crime analyst, purchasing agent, tax assessor, appraiser, and tax collector.

The measure would abolish the existing pay grades for all these people and replace them with a new set of gradations, M-1 though M-11 (the mayor, fire chief, and police chief being the top at M-11).

Each grade receives a minimum raise of 5%. The M-11 grade — again, mayor, the police chief, and the fire chief — increases the existing salary to, get this:

Minimum (learning): $92,213. It then allows further increases: $101,437,67, followed by $106,050, then $110,662.33, to the maximum of $119,887. It’s not even clear that the $119,887 salary is is the ceiling, since the new pay scale seems to allow for a mayoral plan “exceeding” that number.

 Those of you who have to work for a living, especially in The Dreaded Private Sector, try asking your boss for a 40% pay raise. See What Happens.

Fortunately for mayor, his Boss, The Taxpayer, has lost all interest. Through some combination of apathy, disgust, and sadness over seeing a once-great city reduced to its present mendicant state, the true owners of government will idly sit by while their “representatives” rubber stamp the porking pay raise.

Or … or … or …

———————————————————————————–

“You make dizzy, Miss Lizzy, the way you rock and roll.”The Beatles, “Dizzy Miss Lizzy,” (1965).

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

43 Responses to “MAYOR TRIES TO SNEAK IN HUGE PAY RAISE (UP TO 38%) FOR HIMSELF, CITY MANAGERS, AND ALL EXEMPT CITY EMPLOYEES … MANAGER PAY RAISES IN DOUBLE FIGURES, PAY HIKE OF EXEMPTS 5% … GREEDY INCREASE WOULD BE RETROACTIVE TO 2013, WILL COST TAXPAYERS COUNTLESS MILLIONS FOR NOR A PARTICLE MORE SERVICE”

  1. Jonathan Melle
    April 29, 2014 at 9:06 pm #

    No wonder thousands of people left the Pittsfield area over the past decade!
    FACT: * Berkshire County’s population dropped by more than 5,600 to 129,288 residents between 2000 and 2009, according to the American Community Survey. Pittsfield accounted for almost 2,800 of those departures: There were 45,793 city residents in 2000 compared with 43,000 last year. Source: “Census shows decline in county population”, By Dick Lindsay, Berkshire Eagle Staff, December 16, 2010.
    HIGH TAXES & GREEDY PITTSFIELD POLITICIANS!

  2. dusty
    April 30, 2014 at 1:49 am #

    Holy Christ. Certainly Mr Bianchi knows the city cannot afford this. And for sure he knows it would piss off just about every taxpayer not getting a raise. So why would he do it? Is it a cynical move to exact revenge on the public that has turned against him? Is it his way of burning the city to the ground before he leaves to retire in Arizona?

    I am begging my city councilor (Tully) not to go along with this heist regardless of any friendship she or her family might have with the mayor. This is much bigger than that. Councilors, many of you and your families will still be here when Bianchi leaves for sunnier climates. Don’t assist him in hurting everyone else in the city. Krol if you are thinking of running for mayor this is your time to stand up and be the man.

    • Tony
      April 30, 2014 at 5:37 am #

      Dusty don’t hold your breath waiting for Tully to vote against Bianchi every again. I am a neighbor of the Tully’s and during her campaign she & her husband came to my house and told me how badly ” The Yon family ” felt about Bianchi and she was a better choice because she had a long standing personal relationship with him and that would allow her to get things done. She even told me Bianchi gave her his Ward 1 lawn sign list to prove how tight the are. I am willing to bet she votes for this and her husband Mark will come up with some silly ass spread sheet to prove this is good for all the taxpayers.

  3. Sal
    April 30, 2014 at 1:55 am #

    Fortunately, any pay raise the mayor or city council give themselves cannot take effect until the next term, per the new charter. By then, us voters will have kicked them out!

    • D Dawg
      April 30, 2014 at 5:58 am #

      Pay raises are retroactive to July 1, 2013.

    • B
      May 3, 2014 at 9:56 am #

      The major is making it so Mazzeo can get a fat paycheck. My guess is that she will run for major, or that the mayor leaves office without finishing his term and Mazzeo that’s over.

  4. pothole
    April 30, 2014 at 3:54 am #

    The two councilors may have mayoral aspirations should stand loudly against this measure. It would seem odd that they vote together but now is the time. Normally it would be interesting to see the outcome of this but I fear that the Bianchi flock will folded like a pair of three’s.

  5. amandaWell
    April 30, 2014 at 4:49 am #

    Not so fast pothole, just the opposite. If you have political aspirations’s,why would you want to go against the voting block, especially if they consider giving raises also,to the School Committee. Also, what Councilor will say, we are proportionally one of the lowest income in the state, and we need to attract quality candidates, blah, blah, blah. Guess who?

  6. Thomas More
    April 30, 2014 at 5:43 am #

    ” that the mayor will be officiating at Connell’s wedding next month in Park Square” – you gotta be kidding – we’re finally getting some bang for our buck – is the whole city invited or are they going to close PK SQ.? Cultural Pittsfield – hope the food truck’s there – you’re right about Berk Works, ain’t a sound coming out of there – somebody’s shut ‘em up

    • Pat
      April 30, 2014 at 6:47 am #

      Berkshire Works is failing in its basic mission of finding JOBS for people. Could this be because of all the drama that is currently going on there? No director, lawsuits, frightened employees. None of this is doing anything to help the unemployed. There are many of us out here needing help finding a job. These city officials need to do something to help people before handing themselves big pay raises.

  7. pothole
    April 30, 2014 at 5:43 am #

    We also have the worst infrastructure, the worst physical schools, and the most dis functional governments that I have ever been a spectator of. Once we start seeing improvements beyond the frosting on the cake then raises should be given. Especially not retroactive.

  8. Nota
    April 30, 2014 at 5:47 am #

    How about a decrease in pay!

  9. D Dawg
    April 30, 2014 at 6:00 am #

    Yes. Not an increase, but a pay cut. That’s what these bums deserve espec Bianchi

  10. Spider
    April 30, 2014 at 6:31 am #

    There is only one word for these pay raises….in a nutshell “outrageous”!

    I don’t expect much from our councilors….Krol, Lothrop, Clairmont and the rest have been unusually silent…embarrassingly so on every important issue coming before them. Does it have anything to do with all the threats made to them by Council Pres. Mazzeo’s husband? And are these continuing?

    Or is there some other devious faction that has scared them into silence?

    One thing is certain, they are not representing us!

    • eddiep
      April 30, 2014 at 4:21 pm #

      Devious faction?? Now why would the council vote FOR the pay raises? Sure they are silent. If they vote for, whomever runs for mayor next election will, in effect, be voting themselves a pay raise now.

  11. Nota
    April 30, 2014 at 6:43 am #

    President Mazzeo also was instrumental,when she complained about the illegal quorum, and threatened legal action against these three, remember? But if it is true about the alleged threats, then why we’re they so spineless as to file a complaint of their own? Maybe it didn’t happen, that’s my guess.

  12. Spider
    April 30, 2014 at 6:52 am #

    I’m also hearing from some reliable sources that the mayor has no intention of retiring and WILL run for a 4 year term.

    Now isn’t that a happy thought!

    • dusty
      April 30, 2014 at 7:11 am #

      If that is true then he needs to have a psychological examination.

      ( Actually I was thinking that before your post.)

  13. DowagerHat
    April 30, 2014 at 7:17 am #

    Nero fiddled while Rome burned.

  14. amandaWell
    April 30, 2014 at 8:01 am #

    Congrats to the councilor and his new bride to be. Park Square, the mayor officiating. They should have the reception at the hot dog ranch!

  15. Bill Sturgeon
    April 30, 2014 at 8:09 am #

    All I am going to say about the mayor’s proposed pay raises is that I have faith that City Council will vote them down. I agree that the City employees should get raises, based on job proformance using a formal rating scale. If the City has an employees that is “outstanding” then give those employees bonuses. By awarding bonuses the City reward the performance but does not increase the base pay.

    The retoractive piece is unbelieveable and unafforable at this time. I didn’t hear him say anything about “retro” pay when he was running last summer.

    • joetaxpayer
      April 30, 2014 at 3:20 pm #

      Bill, maybe give them a bonus if they move to Pittsfield. It would be nice if more employees had a little skin in the game.

  16. Payroll Patriot
    April 30, 2014 at 9:06 am #

    The Pittsfield Gazette has a brief on the pay raises, Kinnas made mention of them and gave some reasons why they should not be considered. Yes the Gazette, has the wedding thing also. Where is BB? .

  17. Magic
    April 30, 2014 at 9:27 am #

    I have lived here most of my 70 years and have never been so disappointed with an administration as I am with this one.

    What is Mr. Bianchi thinking, with school choice so many children are sent to other places, no business coming here and why would they want to, we have nothing to offer other than lots of restaurants, movies, drugs and crime.

    By the way Mr. Bianchi I haven’t had a raise in 4 years and I work very hard, what makes you think you deserve one. Maybe he will pay my taxes for me. And yes, I’m 70 and still working full time.

    • DowagerHat
      April 30, 2014 at 9:42 am #

      Well said Magic.

    • Scott
      April 30, 2014 at 12:30 pm #

      Bless you magic these bums are gonna retire in thier late 50′s on OUR dime while a lot of people struggle just to make ends meet and work into their 70′s.

  18. Scott
    April 30, 2014 at 12:39 pm #

    I emailed all the city councilmen and asked that they consider our part time mayor is even deserving of a raise and how a raise would benefit the public. Here is all thier contact info if others wish to do the same.

    http://www.cityofpittsfield.org/government/city_council/index.php

  19. Sean
    April 30, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

    More do nothing hacks just like toll collectors on the masspike. My neighbor doesn’t even work a full work week yet she gets paid full wages. If she’s late she’s not even docked.

  20. Rafael
    April 30, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

    A part time mayor who wants a huge raise. Guess he thinks he works in the school department.

  21. C. J.
    April 30, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

    I retired at 66 yrs of age on social security and the under performing 401 k trap. After 48 years in the dreaded private sector, my increase was 1.5 % of next to nothing this year. I agree with earned increases that are derived from productivity, accomplishment, and ingenuity, all of which in the governmental sector must equate to a greater benefit or cost reduction to the general public and tax payer. Not automatic raises without corresponding accountability and merit.
    Has the mayor earned his raise ? Has he been as productive in Pittsfield as Williamstown’s own Corydon Thurston at PEDA or New York State’s favorite son Doug Clark of Pittsfield’s Community Development Dept. ?
    Where’s the beef ? Sorry, I meant jobs.

  22. dusty
    April 30, 2014 at 2:57 pm #

    How does that recall thing work again?

  23. amandaWell
    April 30, 2014 at 3:03 pm #

    The Planet must be fuming! Raisesfor what? Cost of living? Just because? A happier community? year in and out people are either out of work or being taxed to death. Agree with the guy that said decrease, not increase! RECALL!

  24. amandaWell
    April 30, 2014 at 3:19 pm #

    We hear we must fund this and that, blah, blah, blah, levy capacity, state aid, funding streams, etc. We can save millions Mr. mayor by the one thing the workers don’t need, and that are raises, all the time. RECALL!

  25. Nota
    April 30, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

    I do not see anyone stopping this administration or any, for that matter, reducing funding or raises to any worker. Wait until we hear the rhetoric about wrestling with the budget and the constraints concerning a minor increase, which would be in line with other communities.The mayor says our greatest asset is our tax base, really, no kidding. He is not a funny man at all? Low is now micromanaging, clarifying questions. Superior knowledge always come in handy when you live in a world of kumbaya.

  26. matt
    April 30, 2014 at 4:58 pm #

    Municipal salaries do not exist in a vacuum. There must be comparisons available of the salaries of other municipal officials in cities of similar size, nature, and fiscal status as Pittsfield. The “market value” of these roles can be assessed empirically and put this request in context.

    Beyond that is the determination of the best allocation of tax revenues for the good of the people. In the priorities of public policy where do management salaries stand compared to economic development, social welfare, education, public safety, tourism, and on and on. The entire budget should be examined as to how it assigns priorities and resources. A million dollars in increased salary for municipal leaders might be additional police, fire, safety inspectors, pothole repair and so on. Let’s match our money to our needs.. or let’s agree we can lower the tax burden on a tired public!!!

    After these exercises are complete, I suspect the need for and value of these raises will appear less compelling.

  27. billy
    April 30, 2014 at 5:33 pm #

    This is what you get when you stack the deck with yes men.Maybe now people will get a clue and stand up and stop this nonsense going in city government and send the mayor to his other job.

  28. Joe Pinhead
    April 30, 2014 at 5:43 pm #

    If the Mayor and council can approve these raises I too say it is time for a recall, not something I say lightly for a moment. Trust me it is a huge personal sacrifice and it is somewhat of an ugly process as its ongoing but when it’s over it sends a loud message to not only the politicians but to the special interests as well.
    Before a recall can start a massive education of the voters has to start. Please point as many people as you can to this site as a starter. Next talk to them give them the facts surrounding the city its finances and the names of those cashing in on us the taxpayers. What has and will beat us the taxpayers is apathy.
    The single largest investment each of us will make is where we decide to locate and raise a family, we stake our and our children’s future on it yet we as individuals will spend more time and energy researching who some star is sleeping with.
    Time to change that. If there is going to be a recall count me in

    Just sayin

    after all i’m sure we will be told the raises are “for the children”

  29. billy
    April 30, 2014 at 5:56 pm #

    We can’t afford buses and now the Mayor wants a big raise? It is so shameful it is beyond words.

  30. Gene
    April 30, 2014 at 6:39 pm #

    Just when you think the mayor has hit the bottom of the barrel. I’m all for a recall and will work for one.

  31. Mike R
    April 30, 2014 at 10:18 pm #

    Look people. We couldn’t afford not to get new buses with the diminishing trade value. Could we have of privatized and saved money like Tony Simoneli wanted. Absolutely. But that wasn’t an efficient option to wait another year before we had more accurate information on privatizing.

    Now look again. We lose valuable smart people every year in Pittsfield because the other city jobs pay a lot more. This step looks to rectify that by increasing their pay to the AVERAGE of other cities. Right now we are below and have been for years.

    So we can have a better chance of not having morons in administrative positions.

    I strongly dislike the Mayor. Personally and Politically. But I’m reasonable and this is not a bad move on his part. It’s overdue.

    The retroactive piece however is crap. Key is these raises will take out from other places in the budget. Watch that issue more closely. Where they take the money from could be your real issue.

    • MaryKate
      May 1, 2014 at 4:25 pm #

      Mike, there already are morons in administrative positions. Let’s clear out these morons first. Replace them with competent people then let’s talk pay raise.

      Why have there been four or five accountants in the last five years?

  32. Scott
    May 1, 2014 at 3:29 am #

    Most of the councilmen who got back to me said they “need to do research” whatever that means. But I get it getting quality people to work is a daunting task so you would want to make the salaries appealing but at the same time you can’t do that at the cost of bankrupting a community. This popularity contest and concern with superficial bizzar things and people like JP pointed out has no place in govt. It has nothing to do with “liking ” the mayor as one councilmen replied but everything with doing what is right and just for the tax payer. I’m sure the mayor is a great guy a wonderful husband and father. His mayoring just sucks. He’s like the husband or wife that spends too much money they don’t have on dumb crap. We’re bailing out water on a sinking ship and he’s throwing a party and inviting more people on. People who like to play grab ass while others are trying to do thier job appatently.